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All reviews - Movies (65) - TV Shows (25) - Books (1) - Music (1)

Sadly, For Fans Only

Posted : 9 years, 1 month ago on 30 August 2008 09:57 (A review of The X Files: I Want to Believe)

When an FBI agent goes missing, FBI Special Agent Dakota Whitney (Amanda Peet) seeks the Mulder's help in debunking the psychic visions of a former priest who claims that the missing woman is still alive.

The X-Files usually manages to make the bizarre plausible if not believable. However, this is not the case with I Want to Believe. The movie spends a lot of time examining the nature of Mulder's and Scully's faith that the kidnapping case takes a back seat. The end result...an unevenly paced film and a rushed finale.

Fans will enjoy seeing Mulder and Scully again but aside from that I can't provide another reason for watching this movie.



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Highly Recommended

Posted : 9 years, 1 month ago on 28 August 2008 01:05 (A review of Generation Kill)

Generation Kill is the HBO mini-series about the invasion of Iraq as seen from the point of view of the men of the 1st Reconnaissance Battalion. The mini-series is less typical war action and more like a road trip of the invasion. It is at times humorous, gruesome, sad with some of the coarsest language I've encountered.

Generation Kill doesn't spend much time introducing the characters so for the first few episodes I was confused as to who was who but by the end I felt like I knew these guys. Even though there isn't wall-to-wall action, when it happens it feels both terrifying and exhilarating. A lot of tension is created in the anticipation that something terrible is going to happen. In one of the later episodes there is a scene of the Marines helping people across a checkpoint and my heart was pounding thinking that a suicide bomber could be in their midst.





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Not developed enough

Posted : 9 years, 2 months ago on 22 August 2008 01:24 (A review of First Daughter)

This movie follows First Daughter, Samantha Mackenzie as she leaves home (The White House) for college and has to deal with being a high profile teenager.

I like the fairy tale format that bookends the movie and there are some interesting moments (I especially liked the camaraderie that Sam has with her Secret Service agents) but the script doesn't do enough to develop those interesting parts. So the movie just comes across as shallow.

Katie Holmes does fine though she looks more like a graduate student than an 18 year old freshman and she develops a good chemistry with Mark Blucas. Michael Keaton as the president up for re-election and worried father is also good.

First Daughter is an okay tale with decent enough acting but it is hurt by the lack of a properly developed script.


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Oodles of action

Posted : 9 years, 3 months ago on 5 July 2008 01:04 (A review of Wanted)

I didn't have high hopes for this movie because the story seemed so ridiculous and as much as I adore James McAvoy, I had difficulty seeing him as an action start.

But consider my doubts dispelled. Yes, some of the plot points are so out there but in the context of the film they work. Mainly it's because the movie has so much action - 90 plus minutes of completely over-the-top, humor-laced action, that you don't have time to consider the preposterousness of it all.

What holds it together is actually James McAvoy's character, Wesley Gibson - an ordinary guy who goes from zero to hero in less than 6 weeks. His sense of awe and wonder at discovering this secret world and realizing that his universe is completely off-kilter is shared by the audience.

The key to this movie is to just have fun watching it - you'll probably leave the cinema like I did, smiling and shaking your head at the audacity of the filmmakers.


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Bland Werewolf Movie

Posted : 9 years, 4 months ago on 25 June 2008 09:45 (A review of Skinwalkers)

Werewolves or Skinwalkers fall into two camps: those who want a peaceful coexistence with humans and the others who have tasted blood and are addicted to it. An ancient prophecy foretells that on his 13th birthday, a half-human, half-werewolf boy will gain the power to end the curse of the Skinwalkers and restore their humanity. With four days till that eventful time, the former group of Skinwalkers will do everything that they can to see the prophecy fulfilled while the latter only wants to see the boy dead.

Skinwalkers has a decent story and it moves along at a quick pace. But I have three major problems with the movie.

First, the lack of character exposition. Sure the movie has a good pace but I don't think it would have hurt to have 5 to 10 minutes of exposition to flesh out the characters - particularly Jason Behr's character, the leader of the bad Skinwalkers. The boy's nightmares are also not adequately explained and even the surprise reveal in the middle elicits nothing more beyond an "Oh, okay".

The other thing I hated was the surreal standoff about 10 minutes into the movie. I don't see how you can be standing 20 feet from the bad guy with nothing blocking you and not be able to shoot him straight on. Ridiculous!
Plus, are there only 6 - 10 people living in this town?

The most heinous thing about this movie is that it isn't scary. Nothing shock-worthy happens, there's no sense of creepiness - I don't know if you could actually call this a horror movie.

The acting was alright, no complaints on my end and the creature effects were good - I liked the transformation sequences and was glad they made it man-in-suit as opposed to cgi.

The final showdown was fine, nothing spectacular but the most memorable thing was the coda. The last few scenes in the motel room despite the cheesy family reunion has me interested in seeing a follow-up to Skinwalkers.


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Excellent

Posted : 9 years, 4 months ago on 22 June 2008 06:21 (A review of Starship Troopers)

On one level Starship Troopers works as an intense sci-fi/action flick with great battle scenes and spectacular special effects. But going beyond that it provides excellent commentary on fascism, power and war.

Living in a militaristic future, our heroes, high school graduates at the start of the film, feel it is their civic duty to serve. They do this not fully realizing just what a sacrifice this will entail especially since they'll soon be at war with the bugs. They are transformed from wide-eyed innocents to battled-hardened warriors. This is especially seen near the end when Johnny Rico (Casper Van Dien) tells Ace (Jake Busey), "We're the old men now". This coming a year after they enlisted.

I thought most of the actors did a decent job except for Denise Richards as Carmen Ibanez who got on my nerves. That woman can only express two emotions - sparkling eyes for happiness, doe eyes for fear.

Starship Troopers is insanely violent - people get cut to pieces before your eyes and some of the action is played for laughs, sometimes uncomfortably so. The special effects are fantastic - the bugs are scary as hell and there are great imagery of the various ships in space.

I'll be honest - I was put off watching Starship Troopers because of all the negative reviews. But after seeing it, I tip my hat of to Paul Verhoeven for creating this amazing movie.




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Two Thumbs Up!

Posted : 9 years, 4 months ago on 16 June 2008 09:35 (A review of The Incredible Hulk)

Bruce Banner has been on the run for the past five years, trying to find a cure for his gamma radiation poisoning while keeping one step ahead of General Ross and the U.S. military. But after a close call in Brazil, Banner decides it's time to return home and find the person who can help rid himself of the Hulk.

This is not a sequel to the Ang Lee 2003 movie but is more of a reboot. The story does away with Hulk's origins by explaining how he came to be in the opening title sequence.

The Incredible Hulk has a ton of action, with each piece building upon the previous ones until the finale explodes with mayhem and carnage. The CGI for the showdown is fantastic and I have very few complaints about the acting. Edward Norton is quiet and understated as Bruce Banner and the chemistry between him and Liv Tyler as Betty Ross is palpable. I didn't think anyone could do a great a job as Sam Elliot as General Ross but William Hurt just nails it. Though Tim Roth seems an unlikely choice as a tough-as-nails career military man (especially in one scene where he's in the infirmary) he brings such presence to Emil Blonsky that you can't help but believe that this guy would do what it took to take down the Hulk.

The mood is more somber than other comic book movies and so some attempts at humor fall flat. There are also some plot holes particularly in the last part of the film as action and a quick pace takes precedence over story development. There are also some pacing issues that make the movie seem longer than it really is. But this doesn't detract from the fact that The Incredible Hulk is an enjoyable, exciting movie and I was entertained by it.


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Stylish but lacking in substance

Posted : 9 years, 4 months ago on 9 June 2008 09:45 (A review of Plunkett & Macleane)

A modern take on the Highwayman robbery movies of old. Set in 18th Century England, the movie introduces us to Maclean, a drunkard gentleman who has fallen on hard times, and Plunkett, a bankrupt apothecary who wants to go to America and start a new life. They decide to join forces and rob the rich, soon capturing the imagination of society as well as the attention of authorities.

Plunkett and Macleane's concept is a good and interesting one but the execution is such a let down. I won't deny that it's a pretty movie - the costumes and sets are all so lovely. Robert Carlyle and Jonny Lee Miller do decent enough job with the less that great material that they were given though Alan Cumming as the outlandish Earl of Rochester is just fantastic and completely steals the show with his one-liners. Liv Tyler as Lady Rebecca was unnecessary - I found the whole romance between her and Macleane to be wholly unnecesary.

The movie tries to be ironic with its anachronistic use of modern/techno music in a period film and like the movie its success is uneven. The use of techno music in the ballroom scene is great but in others it's just jarring and distracts you from what's happening on-screen.

The ultimate problem with this movie is that the story just dragged on and on without properly character development. The antagonistic relationship between Plunkett and Macleane that becomes friendship at the end is not showed on screen. If the director had spent less time setting up the story in the beginning and focusing more on the action/adventure of them being highwaymen I would have been more satisfied.


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Highly Entertaining

Posted : 9 years, 4 months ago on 2 June 2008 01:10 (A review of Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull)

Kingdom of the Crystal Skull is no Raiders of the Lost Ark but it is still a satisfying, entertaining action film - far better than other sequels I've seen (helloooo Matrix: Revolutions, I'm looking at you) in recent years.

It's well acted (though some important characters could have been utilized better) and does give in to the fact that Indiana Jones (and Harrison Ford) is not as spry as he once was.

The action and effects are spectacular - I don't think we could have expected anything less from Speilberg, Lucas and ILM. I did feel that a particular CGI scene would have been more in keeping with the Indy spirit if it had been live action.

But still I enjoyed watching Kingdom of the Crystal Skull and it's a good ending to the Indiana Jones franchise.





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Okay tween flick

Posted : 9 years, 5 months ago on 1 May 2008 05:35 (A review of Ice Princess)

While preparing a special project for a scholarship to Harvard, a teenager discovers her passion for ice skating. Blah. Blah. Blah. This is a story that has been told time and time again - the usual if-you-persevere-you-can-achieve-your-dream.
The acting is decent and there are some good ice skating routines so it should be fun for its target audience.


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